Three months before the U.S. Presidential election on Nov. 3, 2020, Governor Steve Sisolak signed a 100-page bill into law that changed Nevada election and voting laws. He justified his signing by saying it would “allow Nevadans to safely cast a ballot” during the pandemic. Still, those opposed saw the expansion of mail-in voting and allowances for ballot harvesting to be changes that would enable widespread fraud.
Today, I signed AB 4, which ensures protections for Nevadans to vote safely at the November election during the pandemic.
During this global pandemic, I made a commitment that we’d do all we can to allow Nevadans to safely cast a ballot in the upcoming November election. pic.twitter.com/jv224jObnP
— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) August 3, 2020
Under the new law, individuals could sign ballots on someone else’s behalf and could include multiple ballots in one envelope. No signature was required on the ballots as long as the envelope was signed, and ballots received without a postmark were to be considered valid until proven otherwise. AB 4 also required that all active voters receive a ballot by mail even if they hadn’t requested one and allowed drop boxes to collect the ballots without a signature requirement.
After the law was passed, President Donald J. Trump tweeted, “In an illegal late-night coup, Nevada’s clubhouse Governor made it impossible for Republicans to win the state. Post Office could never handle the Traffic of Mail-In Votes without preparation. Using Covid to steal the state. See you in Court!”
In 2012, New York Times reported, “Votes cast by mail are less likely to be counted, more likely to be compromised and more likely to be contested than those cast in a voting booth,” and “There is a bipartisan consensus that voting by mail, whatever its impact, is more easily abused than other forms.” They referenced the 2005 Commission on Federal Election Reform report that concluded, “Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.”
Nevada was one of six focus states for the Trump campaign’s legal team post-election, here claiming 40,000 voters who voted twice and that machine verification of 130,000 signatures violated Nevada election law. In locations such as Las Vegas/Clark County and Reno/Washoe County, ballots were counted for days after voting ended. Eventually, Nevada’s 6 electoral votes were set to be cast for Joe Biden after the popular vote count gave him a ~33,000 vote advantage. The Nevada Supreme Court accepted that result on Nov. 24, 2020.
An Election Contest Hearing was held in Carson City, NV on Dec. 3, 2020, in which “20 binders containing 8,000 pages of evidence” were used by the Nevada GOP to show challenges to election integrity, along with a report by data science analyst and former Republican National Committee Chief Data Officer Jesse Kamzol. One anonymous witness said that votes were altered overnight and had testimony presented on behalf of the Trump campaign by attorney Jesse Binnall:
“Numerous times [the] disk would be logged out with one vote total on it and logged back in the next morning during the early vote period with a different number on it. Sometimes more, sometimes less.”
Binnall also gave testimony at a separate hearing on voting irregularities in the U.S. Senate on Dec. 16th.
We have 20 binders containing 8,000 pages of evidence that will be presented in just a few minutes showing what took place this election in Nevada! pic.twitter.com/oOEpl4HCCW
— Nevada GOP (@NVGOP) December 3, 2020
— Nevada GOP (@NVGOP) December 16, 2020
Judge James Todd Russell eventually denied the Trump team’s request to overturn Nevada’s results and stop the state’s electors from voting for Biden, which sent the case to the Nevada Supreme Court, where an appeal was ultimately denied. As former Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell told Trump impeachment attorney Jay Sekulow:
“Shockingly, last night, [December 8] the Nevada Supreme Court gave us about two and a half hours to respond in writing…in appeals, and then they immediately dismissed us. This is getting a little bit crazy in that you have courts that are rushing to make decisions and end this rather than listen to the evidence. The Supreme Court of Nevada has chosen not to even listen to the arguments but to just quickly shut it down.“
The Nevada State Republican Party has maintained that there were election integrity issues worth pursuing all along. On Nov. 5, they sent a criminal referral to Attorney General William Barr with “at least 3,062 instances of voter fraud,” in which they said, “thousands of individuals have been identified who appear to have violated the law by casting ballots after they moved from NV.” The Nevada GOP has also taken up election integrity efforts legally after Trump’s cases were lost in court.
A 2020 Election Integrity Brief document summarizes those efforts through 2020. It includes more links to information about irregularities claimed by NVGOP, such as duplicate voters, votes by non-citizens and out-of-state voters, affidavits from poll workers, and the 120-page report on buying of votes. There is also a whistleblower report that claims there are multiple independent insiders that the USPS tried to obstruct from testifying. They allege that USPS’s internal decisions to deliver ballots to undeliverable addresses and illegally forward ballots from the deceased to their living relatives.
After the NV GOP’s general lack of legal success in challenging these election integrity issues, they turned to an internal state process by which complaints can be filed for review by Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske. She is a Republican who has maintained that there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Her office has released graphics to combat myths about election integrity both prior to and after the election. NV GOP responded to these graphics:
While the @NVSOS fails to investigate actual voter fraud and hides behind "Fact vs Myth" talking points, we have shared some inconvenient truths they omitted concerning election fraud. See the full graphic here: https://t.co/pEjrg5loSw pic.twitter.com/zd7lmHy6YE
— Nevada GOP (@NVGOP) January 4, 2021
On March 4th, NVGOP brought boxes of Election Integrity Violation Reports (EIVR) from the 2020 election to Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske. “Today, we dropped off 122,918 Election Violation Reports to assist in a meaningful investigation. Nevadans want free and fair elections.” The Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael J. McDonald said the hand-delivered reports were prepared to “assist the Secretary of State in fulfilling her constitutional duty to investigate potential voter fraud.”
— Nevada GOP (@NVGOP) March 4, 2021
Some of these reports are still under active investigation by her office or the state authorities to whom they have been forwarded. They most likely include individual attestations already on record, such as a voter who was told they had already voted but hadn’t, and a whistleblower alleging people inside a Biden-Harris van were opening, filling out, and resealing mail-in ballots.
SoS Cegavske later made a statement that 3,963 EIVR’s had been received. Nevada GOP replied on 3/16/21 that there should have been 40,669 separate reports containing the total of 122,918 voter records:
“3,987 Individual Non-Citizen Voter Complaints; 1,506 Individual Deceased Voter Complaints; 2,468 Individual National Change of Address to Out of State Complaints; 31,643 ID Required Flagged Individuals; 324 Federal Post Card Registration Complaints; 120-Page Report on Native American Cash for Votes Scheme; 42,284 Individual Duplicate Voter Complaints; 15,164 Non-Nevada Mailing Addresses; 8,842 Commercial Registration Addresses; 8,111 Non-Existent Addresses; 8,529 Reactivated Votes by Mail; and 60 Voters in Clark County with the first name ‘Resident’ last name ‘Resident.’”
As such, we would encourage the Secretary to review the totality of the evidence presented and assure Nevadan’s that she is going to investigate each and every complaint. Frankly, this investigation should have occurred months ago. The Secretary has said time and time again that there is no evidence of voter fraud and thus nothing to investigate. Nevertheless, her office has now validated our assertion that there was voter fraud in the 2020 election when she confirmed that many of these reports were ‘already under investigation.’“
About a month later, on April 12, the Nevada GOP resolved to censure SoS Cegavske for what they say is a “failure to investigate all potential fraudulent votes and irresponsible public statements regarding the fairness of the election.”
The @NVGOP passed a resolution to censure @NVSOS due to her failure to implement reasonable election security measures, failure to investigate all potential fraudulent votes, and irresponsible public statements regarding the fairness of the election. https://t.co/tpiKNoCNEl
— Nevada GOP (@NVGOP) April 12, 2021
Ceganvske made a public statement:
“Regrettably, members of my own political party have decided to censure me simply because they are disappointed with the outcome of the 2020 election. While I have been loyal to the Nevada Republican Party during my over two decades as an elected official, I have been unwavering in my commitment to oversee elections and administer Nevada’s election laws in a neutral, nonpartisan manner. My job is to carry out the duties of my office as enacted by the Nevada Legislature, not carry water for the state GOP or put my thumb on the scale of democracy. Unfortunately, members of my own party continue to believe the 2020 general election was wrought with fraud – and that somehow I had a part in it—despite a complete lack of evidence to support that belief.“
April 21, she released a detailed report about the EIVR’s which concluded, “While the NVGOP raises policy concerns about the integrity of mail-in voting, automatic voter registration, and same-day voter registration, these concerns do not amount to evidentiary support for the contention that the 2020 general election was plagued by widespread voter fraud.”
UncoverDC will continue to report on this story as more information is released.